The excuse I fall to is “be prepared.” I like to imagine that my thinking five steps ahead is an effort to not let life catch me by surprise but really, that’s a big lie. I think five steps ahead because this present moment is uncomfortable, unmanageable, uninteresting. In my head, in those future perfect moments I am controlled and confident. I’ve got it all figured out, except how I got there. That’s all a bit blurry.
There’s probably a television sitcom in this for me although I think the premise has been done…(as if that’s ever stopped the television gods before.) Absent a television sitcom, I’m thinking today about my report card from the 2nd grade. My teacher wrote in the comments section in her swirly handwriting the following:
“Angela spends too much time daydreaming.”
It’s funny to me that I remember this. I may even have that report card floating around somewhere in the many bins of memory items around the house. I don’t know how my mother reacted to this, that part I have forgotten. I certainly don’t recall a stern talking to, or a reprimand of any kind. I remember daydreaming though, I do remember that.
It could be that I was bored but it was more likely that I was not happy with the tension of the present. I was that weird, quiet kid in school. I never quite knew where I fit in and so I created my own little world in my head, a place where I fit, where I featured, all the time. If my grades kept up then why would anyone mind? It surprises me even now that I delve deep to that inner world when I’m bored or overwhelmed and it surprises me more that I’m not as stealthy as I had thought. My youngest son told me he can tell when I’m not paying attention to him. He asks me what I’m thinking about. What can I say? “I’m thinking about what an awesome super hero I would be?”
Maybe. I think he’d actually appreciate that. I don’t think he appreciates the mental time I spend away from him however. That seems clear.
There is some risk for me in staying present in all circumstances. I was thinking this week at Liturgy about the idea of being bored. I was picturing how I would handle my kids when I start bringing them to church there. How will I handle their boredom because I can predict with a fair amount of accuracy that they’ll be bored and then they’ll be loud and maybe cranky about it. Then I had face palm moment realizing that I was not fully there anymore. I had moved five steps into the future in my head. And then I thought that maybe I was bored too. It can be boring, I thought to myself.
Or maybe it’s not boring…because the next thought I had during the service was that on second glance it’s actually beautiful…repetitive and slow-moving but beautiful yet…and peaceful…yes. Then I had this moment in which I realized how little peace I have on a regular basis. I keep myself busy and when I’ve had enough of busy I retreat into my busy head, my other world, my thinking and imagining self. I’m not even peaceful when I sleep lately, anxious dreams and restless legs keep me from that.
I start to imagine that this whole thing is some installment of the “Matrix” movies and that this is all just a fabricated world, that I’m strapped to a machine someplace powering a whole world with the electrical impulses of my brain- it’s no wonder my legs are restless.
Angela spends too much time daydreaming. Perhaps then, I ought to spend more time in the present tense and in this present tension and see where that leads.